Quality is the last big consideration when creating a multilingual communications plan. Timely, accurate communication with employees is important. When you take the time to develop a strategy and process, and you’re familiar with the tools of the trade, consider how to get the quality you need in different scenarios.
First, don’t assume that all your employees do (or should) speak or read English. Even if they do, providing information in their native language leads to deeper understanding and buy-in. The method you choose for translating and interpreting information has a big impact on the quality of the deliverables.
For example, using a bilingual employee might seem like a quick and “free” way to bridge communications. But have you considered the hidden cost or the privacy implications when the communications are sensitive? Depending on the nature of the communications this can be a much more expensive option than working with a professional translation agency. Plus, because the employee is likely working outside of their expertise, you may be sacrificing quality and you run the risk of delivering the wrong message. Read more about this in our blog What’s the REAL Cost of Your Employee doing Your Translation.
What about asking your in-country distributor to provide translation assistance? While this may seem like a good option because the distributor will know the language and the culture, you run the risk of your message being changed or adapted in a way that isn’t right. Plus, you still have the issue of privacy if the information isn’t meant to be seen outside the company.
Choosing a professional language service provider helps mitigate the issues of accuracy and privacy. They often provide a satisfaction guarantee, and they are bound by confidentiality. Plus, they employ professional translators who know the language, culture, and have experience in your industry so they know the terms and subject matter and can relay your message accurately. Good agencies and interpreters will also make sure that your content and communications are culturally relevant.
Remember, not all content or agencies are created equal! First, let’s consider content.
Determining what to translate and how much to invest in the translation starts with a framework of importance and cost. Categorize the materials into high or low importance and high or low cost to determine the best ROI for your translation spend. . Here’s an example of what this framework might look like:
Once mapped out, work with a good language services company - explain your needs, show them your framework, and work together to plan and develop a timeline and budget.